Ontayso: Selected Work from the 24hour Box Part One

After relocating to the Belgian countryside in May 2006, Ontayso (Esther Santoyo and Koen Lybaert) used field recordings inspired by their new surroundings to prepare a conceptual box set containing twenty-four hours of music and pictures. Though the recordings already have been released in two hour sets each month to a small number of subscribers, U-Cover has decided to make available to a general audience a CD that includes six selections of about ten minutes of each hour. Three subsequent parts will be issued three months apart, with the grand total an abbreviated, four-hour version of the larger project.

Selected Work from the 24hour Box Part One consists of ten-minute excerpts taken from hours eleven, three, nine, five, one, and seven (the opening piece is titled “h11/38.35-48.45,” indicating that the ten-minute segment starts thirty-eight minutes into hour eleven). Given that that's the case, what's most surprising about this first installment is how unified the recording sounds and how seamlessly the six sections hold together. The trip starts in what could be an aviary, given the abundance of bird sounds, and then moves into a slowly intensifying overture of chattering, dub-inflected chords and percolating beat patterns that calls to mind the ‘metallic techno' of Basic Channel and Chain Reaction. Thenceforth, the material indulges in beatless, meditative reveries (hours two, six), enters a techno-dub zone (three), becomes a ponderous dirge (four), and follows steely shudders of echoing chords with a pitter-pattering, tribal groove (five). Don't be misled by the ‘field recordings' aspect of the project, either, as Ontayso must have processed radically the original material as natural sounds are few and far between. For all intents and purposes, what we hear are entrancing streams of dub-influenced techno with burbling keyboards and restless beats the primary focal points. In general, though both do their fair share of meandering, Ontayso's album might be regarded as a slightly more focused version of Vladislav Delay's Entain.

July 2007